Tag Archives: ICE Raid

Immigrants’ rights violated in Connecticut Raid

ICE raid

I’ve written a lot about raids in the past year – from Postville to Laurel, we’ve seen how the enforcement-only approach of the Bush era has torn apart communities and violated basic civil and human rights.

Last week, in a rare moment of justice, an immigration court Judge ruled that immigrants’ rights were violated during the raid on New Haven, Connecticut in 2007. From the AP:

Immigration Judge Michael Straus, in decisions last week, said the ICE agents went into the immigrants’ homes without warrants, probable cause or their consent, and he put a stop to deportation proceedings against the four defendants, whose names were not released. ICE officials claim all four are from Mexico, but all four cited their Fifth Amendment rights in refusing to say what country they are from.

Two of the four immigrants lived in one home, and two lived in a second home. They said in affidavits that agents barged into both homes after residents had opened their doors only a little. The agents went into both homes looking for specific illegal immigrants on a “target list,” who weren’t found, court documents say.

Let’s hope the ruling is a sign of things to come.

Raid Victims Awarded Visas

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Two days after the one-year anniversary of the Postville raid, 20 workers were awarded work visas under a law that protects crime victims. From the Des Moines Register:

“A government entity has found, indeed, that these women and children have been subjected to extreme emotional or physical harm by Agriprocessors,” Parras-Konrad said. “These people have been exploited, have been assaulted, have been humiliated, have been verbally and emotionally abused by this employer.”

The fact that at least 20 people were eligible to for relief in these cases clearly demonstrates that there were many others who should have seen their day in court and who were, instead, pressured into pleading guilty and promptly deported. Let’s hope the new ID theft decision and these visas mark a change in policy.

ACTION: Day of Remembrance for Postville

Below is an action being organized by St. Bridget’s Church, the first responders on the frontlines of the raid in Postville, Iowa. Its hard to believe that we are approaching the one year anniversary of that day.

I remember listening to Sister Mary McCauley of St. Bridget’s speak out about the destruction brought by the raid. It seems only fitting that she is organizing this action to remember the event and to call for an end to the raids.

A Call for Nationwide Awareness and Commemoration

of the Postville, Iowa Immigration Raid

May 12, 2009

Tuesday, May 12 marks the first anniversary of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on Postville, Iowa.

To stand in solidarity with the 389 people who were detained and their families, a nationwide day of remembrance has been declared to promote awareness of the devastating effects of raids.

The prayer vigil and walk to commemorate the event will be held as follows:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

3:30 p.m. – Gather at St. Bridget’s Church, 141 W Williams St, Postville, Iowa

4:00 p.m. – Prayer Vigil and Remembrance

5:00 p.m. – Solidarity Walk to Agriprocessors

The event is a unified call for comprehensive immigration reform, just labor practices, family unity and an end to raids.

Invitations will be sent throughout the country to political and faith leaders, social justice advocacy groups, and all who offered assistance to those affected by the raid, requesting their presence in body or spirit on the day of the event.

On this nationwide day of remembrance and solidarity,

  1. We urge faith communities of all denominations to sound a call for justice, e.g., ringing of church bells or blowing of the shofar at 10:00 a.m., the time the raid began.
  2. Text of the prayer vigil and remembrance will be available for adaptation for local use after April 15 at www.postvillestbridget.org.
  3. Individuals and towns are encouraged to don red ribbons as in Postville on the day of the raid.

Media Contact: Sister Mary McCauley, BVM

Email: mmccauley@bvmcong.org

Phone: 563.581.6877

Prayer Vigil text available after April 15 at www.postvillestbridget.org

VIDEO: FIRE Raids ICE

So, I know this is a little over a week old, but I’m still going to post it. I meant to write about it earlier, but for some reason I didn’t get around to it. At any rate, last Thursday, December 4th, an Immigration and Customs Enforecement (ICE) meeting was raided by Flagstaff Immigrant Rights Enforcement (FIRE), at the Flagstaff Radisson Hotel.

FIRE agent Del Fuego read the notice of deportation to more than 15 ICE associated criminals, some of whom appeared to possibly be illegal immigrants themselves, as they were not Indigenous People. Agent Del Fuego called for the immediate withdrawal of ICE from the Flagstaff community and notified ICE of the cease and desist order for all future raids.

I know this was just a prank, but I think its pretty ingenius (and good for a laugh on a Friday afternoon, no?).

Lawsuit Filed against ICE

As I’ve mentioned before, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (and the Department of Homeland Security), are currently enjoying an unprecented and unregulated amount of power. As ICE raids spiral out of control and their victims face more and more injustice, more must be done to reign in the agency’s politically-fueled power trip. So, its great to hear that advocates are pursuing legal ways to hold ICE accountable:

A coalition of civil rights lawyers is suing federal immigration officials who have illegally failed to release information about reported racial profiling, intimidation and denial of access to counsel by workers detained during a huge workplace raid in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the ACLU of Southern California and the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles filed a federal lawsuit asserting that the government’s lack of response violates the Freedom of Information Act. The three groups first requested basic information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security nearly seven months ago. The government has failed to release a single document.

“The government has squandered an opportunity to allay community concerns about the manner in which it is conducting immigration raids. If the government truly believes that it is conducting these raids in a humane and lawful manner, it should release the documents this lawsuit seeks,” said NILC staff attorney Karen Tumlin.

We will be sure to keep you posted on any developments in this case.

ACTION: Help Victims of the Raid in South Carolina!

Since last Tuesday’s raid in Greenville, South Carolina, the details of what happened have been scarce. But, today I received an update on the situation in Greenville and I finally have information for those who want to help.

If you would like to help the families and victims whose lives have been torn apart by this raid you can send donations.

Catholic Charities has set up a fund for the families affected by the raid:

Check must be made to:
Catholic Charities Piedmont Region
Memo for the check: Humanitarian Immigration
P.O. Box 12, Greenville, SC 29602

It seems as though the investigation into Raeford Farms (the site of the raid) has been ongoing for 10 months. “It is believed that this investigation began after the publication of an article in the Charlotte Observer regarding working conditions at the plant. This article reported that of the most employees interviewed admitted that they were not authorized to work in the United States.”

At least 300 people were arrested in Tuesday’s raid. Witnesses say that workers were gathered in the break room and were told to divide up into two lines; one for men and the other for women. They were then asked to show their ID.

Of the 300 arrested, 58 have been released on “humanitarian grounds” and are forced to wear ankle bracelet monitoring devices.

Also, it has been reported that 6 of the workers arrested were under 18 years of age. According to ICE’s guidelines, undocumented juveniles who can’t be released into the custody of a trusted adult were handed over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The Greenville community is still reeling from the raid. Latino restaurants and businesses are eerily empty and families are wondering how they will make ends meet.

Emilio Espinoza manages the Guatemala Restaurant in a strip mall with a grocery store, bakery and nightclub, all catering toward Hispanics.

His usually packed restaurant was empty at lunchtime Wednesday for the first time since he opened seven years ago. Half his employees didn’t show up because they were scared immigration agents might be in the area.

“People are afraid to leave their homes,” said the 35-year-old Espinoza.

UPDATE: SC Raid Tears Community Apart

Yesterday there was an AP article giving us a bit more information on Monday’s raid in Greenville, South Carolina.

One of the immigrants arrested,  Magdalana Domingo Ramirez Lopez, talks about her experience coming the united states.

Lopez, 29, believed she was safe. But she spent most of Tuesday being fingerprinted and questioned by federal agents and a day later was coming to grips with being sent back to Guatemala. Her sons — ages 4, 5 and 6 — were all born in the U.S.

“The whole time I was there with police, I cried. I kept thinking about my sons. That I wouldn’t see them again,” she said.

She left Central America because she didn’t want her family to grow up in a place where she was so hungry at times that she had to eat grass and dirt.

“I came to the U.S. for work. I came in peace. My goal was to help my sons grow up in a better place. Now that’s gone,” she said.

For a slideshow of pictures from the raids, visit the Charlotte Observer.

Raid in South Carolina!

Remember when the raid in Postville was the largest in our nation’s history? It seems like ICE is intent on making Postville seem like merely a blip on the radar.

Today, ICE raided the House of Raeford’s Columbia Farms plant in Greenville, South Carolina. Over 300 immigrants were swept up in the raid.

Here is the AP report.

We will keep you updated as more information comes our way.

ICE Raids Home of U.S. Citizen

On the morning of Tuesday, September 30th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents raided the home of 69 year-old Olga Savage.

The 68-year-old woman told Action 4 News that she heard a knock at her door Tuesday morning.

But before she had a chance to get up she said U.S. Immigration & Customers Enforcement (ICE) agents were inside her home.

“They came in with guns, grenades and holding their pistols,” Savage recalled.

When she asked them why they came into her home they allegedly responded, “Show us your papers.”

Savage complied by showing them documentation proving that she’s been a United States citizen for 40 years.

She said they were shocked to see the paperwork.

“They looked confused and said, ‘They told us you didn’t have your papers’,” she recalled.

After verifying her documentation, they made copies and left. 

Olga said they didn’t offer an apology or help.

Not only did ICE enter her home without permission, but they did so brandishing weapons worthy of a war zone. Why is this excessive force needed? So ICE can forcibly enter a home and terrorize a US citizen with no reprecussions – is this the country you want to live in?

The raid left Olga in such shock that her blood pressure skyrocketed to 280. She was visibly in distress, but ICE agents left with no apology or offer for help. She was forced to drive herself to the hospital to seek medical care.

How much more of this do we have to witness until the government steps in and regulates ICE and their gestapo tactics?